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Trump’s Draconian Budget

May 23rd, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Supported by congressional hardliners, his agenda is all about benefitting Wall Street, war-profiteers and other corporate predators more than ever - at the expense of America’s most vulnerable.

His FY 2018 budget proposes enormous Medicaid and food stamp cuts, along with letting states cut safety net programs on their own.

His plan follows House members passing legislation to cut Medicaid spending by more than $800 billion over the next decade, ending benefits for at least 10 million impoverished Americans, endangering their lives.

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Long Sought US Regime Change in Venezuela

May 23rd, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Venezuela’s sovereign independence, Bolivarian fairness, and world’s largest oil reserves make it a prime US target for regime change - wanting pro-Western puppet rule replacing democratic governance.

In mid-February, before taking office as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson said “(i)f confirmed, I would urge close cooperation with our friends in the hemisphere, particularly Venezuela’s neighbors Brazil and Colombia, as well as multilateral bodies such as the OAS, to seek a negotiated transition to democratic rule in Venezuela” - code language for lawless regime change.

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President Emmanuel Macron: Reversing Five Decades of Working-Class Power

May 23rd, 2017

James Petras

Introduction

Whatever has been written about President Emmanuel Macron by the yellow or the respectable press has been mere trivia or total falsehood.

Media lies have a purpose that goes beyond Macron’s election. Throughout Europe and North America, bankers and manufacturers, NATO, militarists and EU oligarchs, media moguls and verbal assassins, academics and journalists, all characterized the election victory of Macron as a ‘defeat of fascism’ and the ‘triumph of the French people’.

Macron and ‘What People’?

First of all, Macron received only 46% of the actual vote. Over 54% of eligible French voters either abstained, spoiled their ballots or voted for Marine Le Pen, the nationalist populist. In other words, 26 million voters rejected or ignored Macron’s candidacy versus 20.6 million voters who endorsed him. This was despite an unremitting push for Macron from the entire French and European mass media, all of the major political parties and the vast majority of academics, journalists, publishers, undertakers and doormen.

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Trump in Israel

May 23rd, 2017

Stephen Lendman

He arrived at midday, there to pay homage to Zionist extremism. America and Israel partner in regional state terrorism, their axis constituting the greatest threat to world peace.

Israel is in lockdown, thousands of police and other security forces deployed, main roads blocked, activities for Israelis and Palestinians disrupted.

In Bethlehem where Trump and Abbas will meet, a duplicitous banner was displaying, bearing their images, saying “The city of peace welcomes the man of peace.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. US imperial wars rage on Trump’s watch, heading for greater escalation than already.

In Jerusalem, billboards state “Trump is a Friend of Zion,” and “Trump Make Israel Great.” They’re located so he’ll spot them when his motorcade drives through the city.

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Disastrous Marketplace Medicine

May 19th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Commodifying healthcare is a rationing scheme, the deplorable way America’s system works, the world’s most expensive by far - affording anything patients want based on the ability to pay, not human need, testimony to an I don’t care nation.

Writing in the Chicago Sun Times, Phil Kadner asked “(w)ill someone please tell me what evidence exists that a free market benefits consumers in this country when it comes to health insurance?”

“Would anyone even argue that market demand ought to determine how much a person pays when it comes to saving the life of a baby” - or anyone else?

Free market policy-makers prioritize maximum profits and minimum costs. Insurers want the right to charge older Americans and ones with pre-existing conditions higher premiums.

Proper coverage already is unaffordable for most households - aggravated by insurers seeking ways not to cover expensive treatments if they can get away with it.

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If China Can Fund infrastructure with Its Own Credit, So Can We

May 19th, 2017

Ellen Brown

May 15th-19th has been designated “National Infrastructure Week” by the US Chambers of Commerce, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and over 150 affiliates. Their message: “It’s time to rebuild.” Ever since ASCE began issuing its “National Infrastructure Report Card” in 1998, the nation has gotten a dismal grade of D or D+. In the meantime, the estimated cost of fixing its infrastructure has gone up from $1.3 trillion to $4.6 trillion.

While American politicians debate endlessly over how to finance the needed fixes and which ones to implement, the Chinese have managed to fund massive infrastructure projects all across their country, including 12,000 miles of high-speed rail built just in the last decade. How have they done it, and why can’t we?

A key difference between China and the US is that the Chinese government owns the majority of its banks. About 40% of the funding for its giant railway project comes from bonds issued by the Ministry of Railway, 10-20% comes from provincial and local governments, and the remaining 40-50% is provided by loans from federally-owned banks and financial institutions. Like private banks, state-owned banks simply create money as credit on their books. (More on this below.) The difference is that they return their profits to the government, making the loans interest-free; and the loans can be rolled over indefinitely. In effect, the Chinese government decides what work it wants done, draws on its own national credit card, pays Chinese workers to do it, and repays the loans with the proceeds.

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Long Knives Out for Trump

May 19th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

He’s a longtime establishment figure. How else could he become super-rich, able to be the GOP standard bearer, then president?

Yet he’s portrayed as an outlier. Undemocratic Democrats and media scoundrels despise him for preventing Hillary from getting the nation’s top job.

An unrelenting blitzkrieg persists to demonize, weaken and delegitimize him, a softening up process aimed at ousting him from office by forced resignation, impeachment or more sinister means.

If dark forces want him removed, he’s likely powerless to stop them. It’s too early to definitively know, but things appear headed in the direction of ending his presidency - further testimony to America’s debauched system, fantasy democracy, not the real thing.

The New York Times is his leading media antagonist, bashing him relentlessly since mid-2015, serving as Hillary’s press agent throughout the campaign season, disgracefully calling her “one of the most broadly and deeply qualified president candidates in modern history” - a shameless perversion of truth.

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Erdogan in Washington

May 19th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

A thuggish security entourage accompanies his foreign trips, clashing with critics when demonstrations are held.

In April 2016 at Brookings, deplorably invited to speak, they made Washington resemble Ankara, clashing with peaceful demonstrators, protesting his crackdown on press freedom, other human rights abuses, war on Turkish Kurds and support for terrorist groups in Syria.

They assaulted journalists covering his talk, outside and inside the venue, including regime critic Adem Yavuz Arslan. They clashed with DC police after demands to remove protesters were rejected.

During Erdogan’s May 16 White House visit, one of many tinpot despots Trump and congressional leaders support, his thuggish security entourage again instigated street violence, viciously attacking Kurdish protesters.

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Pence Begins Presidential Campaign Unofficially

May 19th, 2017

Eric Zuesse

On Wednesday, May 17th, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who has built his political career as both a fundamentalist Christian, and a client of the libertarian Koch brothers’ extensive fundraising network, made his unofficial but starting bid to become the U.S. President: he formed an organization to raise funds from billionaires and centi-millionaires, in order for Pence to be able to distribute those wealthy investors’ funds to Republican politicians (especially to ones in the U.S. Senate and House) whom Pence favors, and who might reasonably then be expected to return that favor by their supporting a Pence bid to become the U.S. President. Of course, the Presidency is the only American political office that's higher than Pence’s current one, the Vice Presidency.

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Confrontation between militants plays into hands of Syrian army

May 18th, 2017

Anna Jaunger

The Syrian Army continues to conduct its successful counter-terrorist operations. On May 14, after heavy fighting against ISIS, the government forces managed to take full control over al-Jarrah in eastern Aleppo. Undoubtedly, not only high spirit, cohesion and unity, but also panic in the ranks of the radicals contributes to the Syrian Army's success.

Thus, recently, the number of violent clashes between various radical groups once acting as a united front against the government of Bashar Assad, has increased. As a result, the real number of casualties among them has already reached hundreds of dead and seriously wounded.

Full story »

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